summer adventures ’12 part 9: more explorations in bklyn and beyond

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I am sitting here at 3:50pm, trying to gauge when this storm is going to hit, and thinking about the last couple days. My weekend trip to CT for the Roy wedding was excellent. Seth’s played great, and the guests all had a great time.

Monday I returned to Brooklyn and had an excellent dinner with my friends Gretchen and Jess. The merging habits on the Merritt hurt my faith in the human race, but otherwise it was a pretty low-key day.

Tuesday I traveled. I went to Queens to hang with my good friend Mark and his wife Jan. Visiting them is always amazing. It is kind of like visiting a zen master. We eat. We talk. He shows me what he is working on. We compare notes about cooking (this time, about bread). And I walk away with one concept that will focus my practicing for the next several months. This time, it was pulse. Victor Wooten talks about pulse a lot. We spent some time trying to feel 4 BPM. You only get one click every 8 bars. As usual, I was in awe!

Later, I traveled to New Rochelle for dinner with a former advisee and his parents. They were more than gracious, and dinner was delicious! We talked and played music and generally had a great time. I arrived around 7, and we had to rush to get me to the 11:30 train! What fabulous people.

Being a teacher and having summers free to explore and think is really rewarding. Getting to hang with people and relax is something that I don’t think we do often enough. For example, Mark is working on mastering monkey fist knots rights now, and ciabatta bread. I am working on sourdough. The Lans family is getting ready to head west, and attends numerous concerts in NYC. Good stuff!

Today, despite the heat, I decided to head into Manhattan and visit the 9/11 memorial. Being in the midst of the reconstruction was pretty powerful. I can only imagine what it was like after the destruction. The memorial pools were beautiful. When all the trees in the park mature and construction is finished, it will be a serene space in the heart of lower Manhattan business! Zuccotti park is right there too. It seems to be a tiny place to Occupy, but it is right in the heart of the financial district. The towers around there are rather intimidating. After spending a little while in the park, I headed south to Battery Park. The views across the harbor to the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, and Brooklyn were great. Looking north it was clear that a storm was brewing so I did not linger too long.

Despite my best efforts, I ended up getting wet. But not too bad. One of my summer projects was to learn how to enjoy walking in the rain. With an approaching thunderstorm, I felt like I needed to hustle regardless. However, the rain was warm and refreshing. Hopefully I am in for the evening now. I can make some dinner, do some laundry, read a little, and plan my day for tomorrow!

summer adventures ’12 part 6: from the Marquesa to the Marquesas and back again

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The Marquesa is a small guest house with amazing service and amenities. Water and fresh brewed iced tea by the pools. Room service breakfast that you can have in your room or poolside! Perfectly appointed rooms.

Today I had breakfast in my room in advance of the 8am start of our boating adventure. Grapefruit, coffee, and 2 hard boiled eggs really hit the spot! The guys arrived right on time and we were off! After a quick stop at the market for provisions, we headed for the marina and out to open waters.

The first stop was an old metal shipwreck. We went some time snorkeling and diving around the wreck, always keeping and eye out for sharks (I forget which kind, but apparently it was the bad kind). The water was so warm, making for a great experience. Afterwards we decided to head out to the Marquesa islands. Located about 20mi. from Key West proper, they are a frequent target for Cuban refugees. I took some great photos of escape rafts cobbled together from scrap metal and wood, one powered by an old Chevy truck motor! Derek and I wandered the beach, then headed back to the boat for lunch. Then Derek and I headed out for a brief sail before we had motor back to the marina. This was when we skirted with disaster and a freak gust of wind broke our tiller! Though we were trying to get closer to some nurse sharks (the good, non-people-eating, kind), we had to wait for Eric to come over and “rescue” us. On the journey back the sea was rough, but the sea revealed the full spectrum of colors that this part of the world is known for. All in all, a great day!

I returned to the marquesa, the hotel, intending to go sit by the pool. However, after sitting on the boat for so long, I was ready to get out. I headed out walking, without any real plan. I wandered in the direction of “the southern most point” (not). On the way I passed the Hemingway house, which I will return to to visit when they are open longer (if only to see the cats). Across the street I stopped for a Key lime margarita. Then I ended up by the southernmost point, toon a quick photo, and headed back to the hotel. At this point I was hot and ready to hot the pool.

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After swimming and reading for a little over an hour, it was time for a shower and then to head to Mallory square for sunset. Before I left I mentioned that my cold water tap in my sink wasn’t working, then I headed out.

Sunset is the event around here. Apparently. It was actually a little overwhelming. Maybe I just didn’t get enough alone time in the Everglades. But the Bros were out in force. As we’re the families with yelling kids. And street performers. Sunset was really beautiful, and I think I got a few good shots. Afterwards, I wandered back to Hojin Noodle House. Best. Decision. Ever. There was a funny pair of local girls recovering from several days of partying. #keywestliving But the food was top notch. I might have to get back there before I leave. All in all, today was an excellent day. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! Though, I know it will begin with me sleeping in!

ADDENDUM: I neglected to mention, my sink was broken. I returned, and there was a note in my room, saying that they couldn’t fix my sink, and they would be back in the morning. The better point, they left me a key for another room so I would have a working sink (in the process of fixing mine, they took it apart, so I get access to another room)! Best. Customer. Service. Ever!

summer adventures ’12 part 5: all the pancakes you can make/eat

That line got me in the door at the Everglades International Hostel. What an incredible place! With a treehouse, a waterfall in the garden, pianos in the gazebo and the Internet room, it had a little something for everyone. I met a ton of cool people…Vanessa and Stephanie from France, the couple from Switzerland, and Larry from Key West, among others. It is the type of place that restores your faith in humanity. Several of the other guests were refugees from the Flamingo campground. Apparently I was the only one of us who actually made it a full night there! I guess that makes me a bad-ass. Oh, and the unlimited pancake mix was pretty killer.

Then it was back in the car for the drive down to Key West. What a gorgeous drive! The weather was perfect. I now have a pretty rocking drivers tan…

By 1:30 or so I was in Key West. I was shown to my perfectly appointed room. Complete with complimentary wine! I met up with Derek for a bike tour of the island. I basically have my bearings and am set to explore!

Travel days are always draining. I headed out for dinner (a burger and a mojito after four days of camp food hit the spot), and then home for reading and an early bedtime. Tomorrow Derek, Eric, and I are going sailing!

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